Tuesday, November 29, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e Newsletter

DISABILITIES IN THE U.S. The U.S. Census Bureau has released an analysis of disabilities in school-age children. About 2.8 million children (5.2 percent) were categorized as having a disability as defined by IDEA. Of those, perhaps 4.5 percent were cognitive disabilities. Find out more.
BLOCKS AS A LEARNING TOOL. A New York Times article about blocks in the classroom contained an anecdote about a presumably 2e child. After an apple-picking field trip, the child, described as a struggling second-grader, "went to the block corner and built an incredibly complex structure, a tractor engine, and she was able to talk about how all the parts moved,” according to a teacher, who continued: “We need to be looking at this student in a very different way.” Read the article.
WRIGHTSLAW'S current edition of Special Ed Advocate contains articles that might clear up certain questions and issues about RTI and how schools implement it. Find the issue.
AD/HD'S AFFECT ON MOMS is the topic of a study reviewed by David Rabiner in his Attention Research Update newsletter. As you might guess (or know), parenting a child with AD/HD can lead to stress, and the study documents how and when stress levels might elevate by taking an "electronic diary" approach to tracking events and stress. Find the newsletter.
EDUCATOR OF 2e HONORED. Ben Shifrin, Head of Jemicy School in Owings Mills, Maryland, was recently inducted to the Hall of Fame of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). Jemicy School provides a highly individualized, flexible, and challenging education for above-average to gifted college-bound students with dyslexia or other related language-based learning differences. According to the IDA, Jemicy's philosophy is based upon building the academic and higher order thinking skills of bright young people through applied research and time-tested multisensory learning. Jemicy serves the whole child, celebrating each student's strengths while exploring individualized skills and strategies that will build the foundation for success in school and in life. Find more information here or here.
WORRIED ABOUT PSYCHIATRIC MEDS FOR KIDS? A member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has written an article for parents on concerns in children's meds, including "polypharmacy," when a child is on multiple psychiatric meds at the same time. Find the article.
AND FINALLY, THIS. A study has indicated that more creative people are more likely to cheat, but that there is no link between intelligence and cheating. According to the study authors, "people who are creative or work in environments that promote creative thinking may be the most at risk when they face ethical dilemmas." Got a creative kid? Find out more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ONLINE SCHOOL FOR THE GIFTED. Stanford University is about to rename its online high school for gifted youth, calling it the Stanford Online  Highschool. Five years old, the school has graduated 75, most of whom have gone directly to four-year colleges. Find out more about this and other online schools.
DOCUMENTARY ON ASPERGER'S. A video professional whose son "enjoys engineering and physics and studies Japanese for fun" but who has “zero friends” has created a documentary to fill a gap in resources for parents in similar situations. According to an article in the San Antonio Express-News, "the 68-minute documentary is aimed at families grappling with the realization that their child may take a different path in life than what they'd hoped for and dreamed of." Read more.
RESOURCE FOR CLINICIANS. The Centers for Disease Control have released "Autism Case Training (ACT): A Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Curriculum" to help future healthcare providers identify, diagnose, and manage ASD. The curriculum is PDF based but includes videos. Find out more.
RESOURCE FOR EDUCATORS. Edutopia has assembled a free PDF guide on the topic of brain-based learning to help K-12 educators learn more about the field. Find it.
GIFTED DEVELOPMENT CENTER. If you're a fan of this non-profit organization, be advised that GDC is soliciting donations to upgrade its computer systems, among other needs. Find more about this and other news from the GDC in the Thanksgiving edition of their newsletter.
THE DAVIDSON INSTITUTE, in its November eNews-Update, shares information about the recently honored 2011 Davidson Fellows, each awarded scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. (Remember: this and all the other contributions that DITD makes stem from the generosity of two people, Jan and Bob Davidson.) Also in the newsletter: pointers to a variety of gifted-related news and resources. Read the newsletter.
GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY. Maurice Fisher has distributed the winter edition of his newsletter, which marks 25 years of publication. Among the articles: one on how Steve Jobs' ideas can be applied to gifted education. Find the newsletter.
MATH ANXIETY can be overcome, according to researchers at the University of Chicago. The trick: controlling emotions prior to doing math. Find out more
EXCLUSION, BULLYING, FRIENDSHIP, AND STRESS. Having friends can ameliorate the effects of exclusion or bullying, according to the results of a new study of fourth-graders. The researchers measured the level of the hormone cortisol in kids who suffered exclusion or bullying. Read more.
TWITTER AS A RESOURCE. Two items came to our attention today that promoted Twitter as a way to connect with people of similar interests -- specifically, in the areas of education or giftedness. On the Education Week site, Peter DeWitt reveals how he became hooked on Twitter for exploring elementary education resources and connections. Secondly, Joel McIntosh, head of Prufrock Press and someone whose judgement we respect, emailed about the use of Twitter at conferences, and invited attendees at next week's Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented conference to sit in on a session on using social media to connect with gifted ed supporters; find his email.
AND FINALLY, THIS. Happy Thanksgiving (Thursday) to our friends and subscribers in the United States. For those of you outside the U.S. -- take a minute to reflect on what you have to be thankful for as well; eating turkey to go along with your thanks is optional.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ON IQ. Today we found three items concerning IQ, a topic of some interest to those who raise and educate gifted kids with learning challenges.  1. A UK study found links between higher IQ at ages 5 and 10 with higher-than-typical drug use at ages 16 and 20. Researchers' conjecture? Boredom or feeling different, "either of which could conceivably increase vulnerability to using drugs as an avoidant coping strategy," Read more 2. The American Heart Association says that in men, a higher late-adolescence IQ score correlates with a lower waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) in middle age. A high WHR is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Read more3. Finally, a European study of breastfeeding and IQ indicates that preschoolers who had been breastfed longer had higher IQs. The conjecture: "It is the physical and psychological bonding and interaction between infant and mother during breast-feeding that nurtures development of an infant's cognitive abilities," noting that breastfeeding is not just a meal but "a dynamic, bidirectional, biological dialogue." Find out more.
SENG VINE. SENG's November newsletter is posted at Constant Contact. The issue's featured article is on parenting the gifted; it's by a woman who, as a girl, was featured in the movie Spellbound, about the National Spelling Bee.
RESOURCE. Education Week has announced that November 16-20 is an "open house" at its website, much of which is usually for subscribers only. Find the Education Week homepage.
THE SOCIETY FOR NEUROSCIENCE just concluded its annual meeting. A synopsis of some of the research presented at the conference is available at ScienceDaily; the synopsis features studies involving depression and schizophrenia. Another synopsis at ScienceDaily dealt with studies on ASD, Fragile X, and bipolar disorder.
AND FINALLY, THIS -- ON PARENTING. The New  York Times obituary section (we often learn interesting things there) noted the death of a Czech-born little person, 93, who had acted as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. According to the obit, his father tried "witch doctor" treatments to make him grow, but then, when the child was 9, sold him to a traveling show. For his stint in Oz, he earned $50 a week, supposedly less than Toto was paid. Read a longer AP version of the obit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NEGLECTING THE GIFTED. The Wall Street Journal has concluded that the "national focus on the lowest-achieving students has helped boost their academic performance, but it has left the country's brightest young minds behind their international counterparts." The article quotes NAGC's Jane Clarenbach on the myth that GT kids are fine on their own. Read more about the problem and possible solutions.
LD ADVOCATE. A world-class lacrosse player and Johns Hopkins graduate is focusing on athletics as a way to help kids with LDs succeed. Paul Rabil, who has auditory processing disorder, was featured in an article about the Washington, DC, Lab School for kids with LDs. Also featured in the article is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former "dummy table" occupant, Philip Schultz, who learned about his own dyslexia when his second-grade son received a diagnosis. Read the article.
MEMORY AND OCD. People with remarkable autobiographical memory may be more prone to OCD-like behaviors, according to a new study. It turns out that two areas of the brain that are larger in people with exceptional memory are also larger in people with OCD. Find out more.
GIFTED HOMESCHOOLING PIONEERS. The New York Times Magazine contained an article about a couple who were homeschooling pioneers in the 1970s, four years of which focused on travel. The article is titled "My Parents Were Homeschooling Anarchists." Find it.
AD/HD AND THE BRAIN. A particular area of the brain works much harder in children with AD/HD. The area in question is the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. The reporting scientists concluded that "This fundamental difference in brain function might be an underlying cause of the inattentiveness, impulsivity and focus problems that make it hard for ADHD children to concentrate in the classroom." Find out more.
AND FINALLY, THIS. We discovered from a press release that apparently the U.S. Congress is considering legislation to categorize pizza as a "vegetable" for the purpose of school lunch menus. The irate whistle-blowers behind the press release? A group of retired military leaders who support policies that will help young Americans succeed in school and later in life. Read more at the group's website, www.missionreadiness.org. (Part of the group's motivation, from their website: "75 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds in the US cannot serve in the military, primarily because they are physically unfit, have not graduated from high school, or have a criminal record.")

Friday, November 11, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

ASPIES: NOT THINKING ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK? That's the conclusion of a study by researchers at Caltech. They devised an experiment to compare how much subjects would donate to a cause either in the presence of an observer or not. Control subjects donated more in the presence of the observer; high-functioning autistics donated the same in either situation. Read more
AD/HD RESOURCES. About.com provides a list of scholarships available to students with AD/HD. Find it. Separately, the site also has an article about choosing a college when you have AD/HD.
DISORGANIZED? SENG has an upcoming webinar called "Helping the Disorganized Gifted Family." Find out more.
FOR EDUCATORS OF THE GIFTED, Education Week offers nine tips for teachers in an article called "What Gifted Students Need from You." Find out at edweek.org.
AND FINALLY, THIS. We often bash the overuse of media by kids. Now comes a study concluding that "Both boys and girls who play video games tend to be more creative, regardless of whether the games are violent or nonviolent..." The write-up, however, only notes the correlation between the two; no cause-and-effect relationship is implied. Find out more.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

COLLEGE AND LD: FOLLOWUP. In our last post we noted an article in The New York Times dealing with the issue of what to disclose, if anything, about an LD when applying for college. As it turns out, the Times has made available an admissions expert to answer questions online from readers about applying to college with a learning disability. If that young person you teach or raise is nearing college age and you have specific questions, this could be a great resource. Find it. 
2e PIONEER SUSAN BAUM is presenting a workshop titled "Bright but Challenged: Understanding and Treating the Twice-exceptional Learner." To be held on December 9 in Portland, Maine, the workshop is geared to learning specialists, educational therapists, classroom teachers,  parents and mental health practitioners. Find out more. Susan Baum is on the Editorial Advisory Board of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter.
GDC'S NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER is out. It notes the 100th anniversary of the IQ test and presents an article titled "The WISC-IV Integrated for 2e Learners," with tips for identifying and accommodating 2e kids through WISC-IV results. In addition, the newsletter notes that four GDC speakers will present at the TAGT conference coming up in Austin. Find the newsletter. Separately, Linda Silverman was able to arrange a "conference within a conference" at TAGT on testing the gifted. She says, "Anyone who tests gifted and 2e kids should be there. Find more about TAGT.
GIFTED MYTHS. The Washington Post published five myths about gifted kids, offering commentary on the reality versus the myth. One myth: "Students with learning disabilities cannot be considered gifted or talented." You knew the truth about that, but it's good to see publications like the Post spreading the word. Find the article.
ASD DIAGNOSES DIFFER BY CLINIC. A study has found that clinics vary in how they apply diagnostic criteria for ASDs and in the final diagnosis they come up with. A study author is quoted as saying, "...in those borderlands of autism spectrum disorders, there is a lot of confusion." That means that where one clinic might diagnose a child with autism, another might apply the Asperger's label. Read more.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

LD ON COLLEGE APP: TELL OR NOT? A New York Times blog explored the issue of what to reveal on a college application about one's learning challenges. According to the article, whether to disclose might depend on the impact on performance of the LD; students with strong grades might not want to disclose. Also in the article: a pointer to sources of information about colleges supporting students with LDs. Read more.
COULDN'T MAKE IT TO NAGC, wrapping up this weekend? Tamara Fisher blogs about her experiences there at "Unwrapping the Gifted."
DEBORAH RUF, in  her e-newsletter, pointed us to "Nobel Conference 47: The Brain and Being Human." Not only does the conference site offer resources for each presenter's topic, but it also provides a video archive so that site visitors can view videos of presentations. The topics are more general than 2e- or LD-specific, but brain mavens might want to check out the site. Thanks, Deborah. 
MATT COHEN, special ed attorney who has written for 2e Newsletter, has an article in his November e-newsletter titled "Beware the IQ Score," discussing challenges to the common belief that IQ is constant. Find the newsletter or download the article (as a Word document) from the Monahan & Cohen website.  
ATTENTION RESEARCH UPDATE, David Rabiner's newsletter, has been posted for October. The subject: what's important to families as they make decisions in seeking treatment for AD/HD in a child. Find the newsletter
ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR READERS. An article in the most recent edition of 2e Newsletter mentioned Bookshare, a tool to help struggling readers by providing books in a way that can be both seen and heard on the computer. Bookshare is free for schoolchildren. Got a problem reader? Find out more about Bookshare.
BOOKS FOR DYSLEXIC KIDS. The Telegraph of London published a column in observance of Dyslexia Awareness Week, noting books from a British publisher devoted to bringing out works for struggling readers. Find the column. Separately, The LA Times noted research from Stanford University indicating that intelligence is unrelated to dyslexia -- "evidence of dyslexia was shown to be independent of IQ scores." Read more.
THE AUTISTIC ADVANTAGE? A Canadian researcher "has strongly established and replicated the abilities and sometimes superiorities of autistics in multiple cognitive operations such as perception and reasoning," according to ScienceDaily. As in an item in one of our recent blog posts, the researcher notes that standard IQ tests can be inappropriate in gauging the strengths of the autistic mind. Read more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From the Publishers of 2e: Twice-Exceptional Newsletter

NOT JUST INTELLIGENCE: CURIOSITY TOO. "Personalty traits like curiosity seem to be as important as intelligence in determining how well students do in school." That's the conclusion of a study published recently in a publication of the Association for Psychological Science. Conscientiousness also affects academic performance. Read more.
WRIGHTSLAW. The current issue of Special Ed Advocate examines whether children with AD/HD  -- which is not a "specific LD" -- are eligible for IDEA services or eligible for Section 504 accommodations. Find out more.
THE WEINFELD GROUP is presenting an event on November 10 titled "Helping Your Worried Child -- Behavioral Treatment of Childhood Anxiety." The presenter is Bonnie Zucker. To be held in Rockville, Maryland, the event is an hour and a half long; the cost is $25 for those who register by 11/3, $35 afterward. More information.
AD/HD DRUGS do not increase the risk of heart problems in children or young adults, according to a U.S.-funded study involving over a million subjects. Included were meds such as Adderall, Concerta, Strattera, and Ritalin. Find out more.
SCREEN THOSE PRESCHOOLERS. A study funded by the National Insititutes of Health found that many more preschoolers have vision problems than previously thought -- about 25 percent compared to the previous figure of 5 percent. The net-out -- screen that preschooler to make sure vision problems don't masquerade as learning problems, and also, of course, to make sure that kid can see. Read more.
MAYO TOOLKIT FOR CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH. The Mayo Clinic has published a toolkit to help identify mental health problems in children and teens. The motivation? The fact that up to 75 percent of children with problems evidently don't get help. Read more about this. Find the toolkit.
AND FINALLY, THIS. If  you've ever worried about food safety -- whether what manufacturers put into the food you buy is really safe -- you'll not enjoy a recent item at ScienceDaily on the topic. It seems that U.S. law:
  • "Allows manufacturers to determine that the use of an additive is "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS), and then use that substance without notifying the FDA.
  • "Does not require that manufacturers inform the FDA when health reports suggest new hazards associated with additives already used in food."
If that makes you dangerously excited and you want to know more, go to ScienceDaily.